2012 Rome Targa in white
Size l/Xl with heel cup assembly set at smallest size.
Using the 3.5 degree cant both bindings.
Using the medium foam pads in the ankle strap.
Using about 1/4 inch of forward lean on both bindings.
Not using any highback rotation as I am not a fan of rotated highbacks.
Toe strap used as a toe cap.
Ankle strap set in middle hole.
Board used for test: 2012 Gnu Billy Goat 156.
Boot size: 8.5 – 9.0 US
Stance: Regular, 22-24 inches +15 /-15
General riding background:
Been riding for just over 6 years now and I would consider myself an advanced free rider (not expert yet) with good carving skills and all around back country experience. Can handle trees, steeps, crud, ice, powder, moguls and anything mother nature throws my way with relative ease and make decent turns doing it. I frequently climb Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams in the spring and summer to get my summer turns.
As for general freestyle and park skills, I am a low intermediate who can hit small to medium tables up to 15 feet no problem (straight air with basic Indy or Method grab) Easy boxes doing 50/50 and starting to explore board sliding but no hand rails or fancy tricks on boxes yet. I ride the 18 foot Super Pipe up to the lip (not getting out yet) competently and with ease. I have my 180`s down all 4 directions solid on small hits; working on 360`s. My biggest limitation for park skills comes from a deathly fear of heights so no going big or gnarly cliff drops are in my future (at least not on purpose).
I am an instructor who rides and works 50+ days a season not counting summer and fall back country which puts me close to the 100 days a year mark. I ride in any condition ,in any weather and prefer the off piste to groomers although laying down hard carves on firm, fresh corduroy is a nice treat when the off piste is boiler plate with embedded death cookies.
I have paired this board up with the 2012 Rome Targa bindings set at 22 inches, +15/-15 and am using the 3.5 degree cant in the footbeds and the medium flex foam pads in the ankle strap and just a dash of forward lean. I am not a fan of rotated highbacks.
Thanksgiving Day 11-24-2011
Mt. Hood Meadows Resort
Mt. Hood, Oregon
Cold, clear and windy in the morning turning to snow by noon. Temperature around 28-32F.
Very firm on the groom with patches of ice from a rain/sun crust and polished by the wind. Off piste was hard, frozen, churned up uneven crud with no powder stashes.
Well rested, ready to get on the snow. First snowboarding since a split boarding trip a week prior. Recovering from cold so stamina was not at 100%.
General First Impression
First and foremost, like every pair of Rome bindings I have owned, these felt comfortable and natural. Even though I have small feet (8.5 – 9.0) I was using the L/Xl binding because I did not want to wait for the S/M to come in. The adjustability of the binding means that there is a nice overlap of sizes between the two options. By making the needed adjustments, my 32 Lashed boots fit nicely into the bindings. They are a little roomy side to side with about 1/2 CM gap each side but the Lashed is a pretty low profile boot so these bindings can accommodate a pretty wide boot and yet allow a much narrower boot to work quite well.
My first few runs were used to not only get used to the bindings but the new board as well. One thing about the Targa`s is that they are superior at transferring energy from your foot to the board. Even though a nicely comfortably flexible bindings, they really are very responsive. I am of the opinion this is due to the underwrap design of the side rails.
I think the first thing most riders will notice about riding the Targa`s is how comfortable they are. I felt no pinch points or pressure points. The footbeds in this year`s models is really cushioning and adds a lot of dampening to your overall ride. The padding on the ankle strap along with the width makes for a very comfortable yet secure fit. The new toe strap/cap is really a nice design with wider width than my older Targa`s and the material really conforms well to the shape of your boot, providing a very even secure fit without needing to be super tight.
The canted footbeds really helped me with knee fatigue and MCL pain that I get from riding aggressively on hard off piste snow. I am using the full 3.5 degree cant on them. Your options are no cant 2 degrees and 3.5 degrees. I chose the full cant and for me it feels really good and has allowed me to run a wider stance more comfortably. One thing that I like is how easy it is to change and adjust the footbeds without loosening the binding from the board. One screw in the center is all it takes.
Another great improvement is the new forward lean adjustment. It is no longer a flip lever that catches on your pant cuff or can loosen from impacts or tree limbs. It is a set screw system that you turn in or out to set your forward lean. The downside is that is does require a Phillips head tool but this minor inconvenience to me is a good trade to eliminate the clip thing.
As always, the ratchets are clean and simple and best of all they work smoothly. The only weakness I discovered is the latch mechanism is a little small and is prone to freezing open so that when you go to tighten the bindings, you have to push down on the ratcheting mechanism to break it loose. The ratchets themselves are spring loaded to prevent over tightening. If you try to reef down on them, they simply skip without damaging the ladder strap. At first, the newer rider might be uncomfortable with this as they almost always over tighten ratchet straps. Just trust the system; it will keep you very secure!
The only negative thing I can say from the start is that I had hoped that by now Rome would have fixed the cloth ladder strap cover. That thing has always been a pain in the ass. My 390`s have it and my old Targas have it and it is not stiff enough to maintain its shape so the end of the ladder strap will catch on it and jam. I usually just smash the thing flat and let the ladder strap go over the top. It is a great idea, but Rome needs to make this out of a stiffer material that keeps its shape better.
Hard and fast groomed runs
I spent several hours doing medium and large radius carved turns on very firm hard pack groomed runs. The flex of these bindings keeps them feeling gentle and at no time did I feel like they were “touchy”. While very responsive, they also remained very smooth and predictable both for heel and toe side carves. Very comfortable, responsive yet “forgiving”. A very nice binding for carving without having to resort to super stiff, touchy bindings.
Off piste steeps, crud and general crap
This day was not the day to play off piste, but was a great day to test a board and bindings in challenging conditions. Again, the forgiving nature of these bindings really shines when dealing with boiler plate sun crust, frozen death cookies, ruts and general churned up, regurgitated and refrozen crap. I dropped several black diamond off piste routes that required superior response to maintain control and these bindings did not let me down. What I really liked was how responsive they are yet are not catchy or touchy in any way like a stiffer binding often can be.
Overall it was a firm and fast day best left for groomers. Ultimately that is what I spent most of my time doing with a brief excursion into the steeps in less than ideal conditions. In all areas, I was very satisfied from a performance and comfort perspective. I rode hard for about 6 hours and my feet never hurt once as a result of these bindings (my boots are another story however…). As a first day on these bindings, I have very high hopes that like my older models, they will become my go to binding of choice.